The COMSOL Multiphysics simulation software environment facilitates all steps in the modeling process − defining your geometry, meshing, specifying your physics, solving, and then visualizing your results. Model set-up is quick, thanks to a number of predefined physics interfaces for applications ranging from fluid flow and heat transfer to structural mechanics and electromagnetic analyses. Material properties, source terms and boundary conditions can all be arbitrary functions of the dependent variables. Predefined multiphysics-application templates solve many common problem types. You also have the option of choosing different physics and defining the interdependencies yourself. Or you can specify your own partial differential equations (PDEs) and link them with other equations and physics. On our system, results are displayed on two 24” monitors and one 32” monitor.
A Gleeble machine is a physical simulator used to create a representative heat affected zone (HAZ) in electrically conductive materials that are used in welding processes and for testing high temperature deformation behavior of specimens. The specimen is heated directly by electric-resistance heating. The specimen holders are fully enclosed within a vacuum/environmental chamber with a large viewing window, allowing visual monitoring of the specimen during testing. Our machine, the “Gleeble 1500” is capable of a maximum load force of 80 kN and with a maximum deformation velocity of 1.2 m/s for impact loading and a minimum stroke velocity of 1.7 x 10-9 m/s. The Gleeble is capable of heating rates greater than 10,000 °C/s, quenched cooling rates as high as 10,000 °C/s, and un-quenched cooling rates as high as 330 °C/s with a maximum specimen temperature of 3000 °C. This device is used for the determination of mechanical properties under fast heating conditions, the determination of hot crack affinity of alloys, the simulation of deformation processes, and microstructures during welding, for example. This machine can be used for tensile, compressive, and fatigue tests. The control computer is capable of measuring stroke, crosswise and lengthwise strain (engineering and true), force, stress (engineering and true), and temperature. In addition to reading the force and stroke the computer is able to use input from pyrometers, dilatometers, and various strain gauge devices. The Gleeble can perform nearly any tensile and/or compressive thermo-mechanical test imaginable.
Our laser is a SLS 200 CL8 Lasag Laser. It uses fiber optic beam delivery with a beam size of down to 600 µm. Example applications of this machine would be precision seam and spot welding of challenging materials and material combinations or precision cutting, drilling and other kinds of micromachining. It is capable of peak power control, pulse to pulse stability, high-resolution pulse forming, and pulse on demand/pulse burst functions. There are multiple interface options with a real time check of actual laser performance, lamp life, and power reserve. The user has the ability to control and monitor each single laser pulse with read-out capabilities. The power source for the laser is actively water cooled. Our laser is hooked up to a CNC manipulator for manual or automated operation and enclosed in a custom made work cell.
Our robot welder is a TA 1600 Panasonic robot with 2 interfaced external part manipulators, TEACH point path to point positioning programming (TEACH pendant) and electrostatic touch sensing. This is a 6 axis robot identical to the ones used in industry production lines with its own work cell. While we don’t manufacture many automobiles, this robot is useful in research for making and varying complex repeatable welds/routes with minimal programming.
Here at LeTourneau, we also have a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) at our disposal. This microscope uses a stream of high-voltage electrons to produce images magnified up to 50,000x, although it is normally used at less than 10,000x. The SEM has exceptional depth of field that enables 3-D viewing of irregular surfaces. It is also equipped with an energy-dispersive spectrometer (EDS) that can identify the elemental composition of selected microscopic regions. Results are displayed on two standard computer monitors and one 32” monitor.